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Jerome Robbins Festival-Sept 21-22 and 27-29

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First, to note;

  • There are two programs, A and B
  • The Robbins Festival is not following the standard subscription format.
    • What is usually the second weekend Sunday matinee has been moved to second Saturday matinee, so that people can see both programs either Saturday.
  • Opening night, starts at 6:30pm! (To be followed by First Look Gala)
  • Through August 3 (PDT), there are no booking fees for new ticket purchases for The Robbins Festival, the All Premiere program, and The Nutcracker.

Now the presser, part one:





September 21 – 29, 2018

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109




September 21 at 6:30 pm

September 22 at 2:00 pm

September 29 at 7:30 pm



September 22, 27 and 28 at 7:30 pm

September 29 at 2:00 pm


SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet raises the curtain for its 46th season with a two-part festival celebrating the centennial of dance legend Jerome Robbins. Artistic Director Peter Boal’s selection of seven iconic works fills PNB’s stage for two weeks in an alternating repertory. This unique performance schedule was designed to give audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the genius of Robbins, a legendary choreographer for both stage and screen. The Festival demonstrates Robbins’ remarkable gift for illuminating relationships, from love at first sight to hilarious encounters. PNB’s Jerome Robbins Festival runs for seven performances only, September 21 through 29 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30, and go on sale Friday, July 20. (Subscribers’ pre-sale began July 9.) For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.


(September 21 at 6:30 pm; September 22 at 2:00 pm; and September 29 at 7:30 pm)

Circus Polka

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Judith Fugate

Premiere: June 21, 1972, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: September 16, 2006


In the Night

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Maria Calegari

Costume Design: Anthony Dowell

Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: January 29, 1970, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: September 22, 2005


Afternoon of a Faun

Music: Claude Debussy

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Bart Cook

Scenic and Lighting Design: Jean Rosenthal

Costume Design: Irene Sharaff

Premiere: May 14, 1953, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: May 11, 1978 (NYCB staging); restaged November 4, 2011


Other Dances (PNB Premiere)

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Isabelle Guérin

Costume Design: Santo Loquasto

Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: May 9, 1976, Gala benefit for New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts


West Side Story Suite

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Choreography: Jerome Robbins and Peter Genarro

Staging: Robert LaFosse and Jenifer Ringer

Vocal Coaching: Joan Barber

Scenic Design: Oliver Smith

Costume Design: Irene Sharaff

Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: May 18, 1995, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: March 12, 2009



(September 22, 27 and 28 at 7:30 pm; and September 29 at 2:00 pm)


Circus Polka

Music: Igor Stravinsky

Choreography: Jerome Robbins


Dances at a Gathering

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Philip Neal and Jenifer Ringer

Costume Design: Joe Eula

Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: May 22, 1969, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: May 28, 2009


The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody)

Music: Frederic Chopin

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Staging: Judith Fugate

Scenic Design: Edward Gorey

Costume Design: Irene Sharaff

Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton

Premiere: March 6, 1956, New York City Ballet

PNB Premiere: September 15, 2007

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Friday, September 14, 5:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

PNB’s popular Friday Previews are hour-long studio rehearsals hosted by Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB artistic staff, featuring Company dancers rehearsing excerpts from upcoming ballets. Tickets are $15. (Note: These events usually sell out in advance.)  Friday Previews are sponsored by U.S. Bank.


FILM SCREENING: Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About

Tuesday September 18, 7:00 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

PNB subscribers will enjoy this exclusive screening of Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, Thirteen/WNET AMERICAN MASTERS’ definitive 2009 profile, produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Judy Kinberg and written by best-selling Robbins biographer Amanda Vaill.Exclusive complimentary screening for PNB subscribers only. RSVP required.


PANEL DISCUSSION: Working with Jerry

Wednesday September 19, 7:00 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Robbins scholar Misha Berson (author of Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination) moderates a panel of artists who worked with Jerome Robbins, including PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal and Stephanie Saland (New York City Ballet), among others. Tickets are $25, available through the PNB Box Office.



Thursday, September 20, 5:30 pm (New Time)

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with guest artists involved in putting our repertory on stage. Attend the Conversations event only or stay for the dress rehearsal of select Jerome Robbins Festival ballets. Tickets ($30) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.



Friday, September 21, 2018

Celebrate the opening night of PNB’s 46th season with a glamorous cocktail party, an elegant backstage dinner, and a dance party onstage after the performance! For tickets and more info, call 206.441.2429 or email Events@PNB.org. (Performance tickets sold separately.)



Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.



Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders. (No Q&A on Friday, September 21.)


STUDIO PRESENTATION: Jerome Robbins’ Male Solos

Tuesday, September 25, 4:30 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal will be joined by men of the Company in this exploration of Jerome Robbins’ male solos, featuring excerpts fromDances at a Gathering, Opus 19/The Dreamer, and more, plus a solo reconstructed by Mr. Boal that Robbins made for him in Ives, Songs. Tickets ($25) available through the PNB Box Office.



Friday, September 28
Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more information, visit PNB.org/YPC.



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Ballet 101 returns:

BALLET 101: Dressing the Dance – Costumes & Wardrobe at PNB

Tuesday October 23, 7:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

Pacific Northwest Ballet boasts one of the most highly-regarded costume shops in the country. Learn what goes into building and maintaining the many costumes (and more) in the PNB repertory during this panel discussion featuring Costume Shop Manager Larae Theige Hascall and her team of artists. This is the first of a four-part series exploring the many facets of the ballet industry. Moderated by Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington. Tickets are $25 per two-hour session, or $75 subscription (four sessions for the price of three.) For more information, visit PNB.org.

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Thank you Helene!  Looking forward to seeing Program B.  Just got my tickets.  I have only seen PNB once when they were touring though DC back in the late 80's/early 90's  Fabulous company of dancers!

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Casts have been posted for both weekends for the Robbins Festival! (scroll)


Here's the link to the downloadable spreadsheet:

Robbins Festival 18_09_17.xlsx

There are two casts for each ballet, except for four Ringmasters in Circus Polka:

  • Peter Boal: First weekend Friday (opening night)
  • Jonathan Porretta:  First weekend, Saturday matinee, and second weekend, Saturday matinee evening
  • Arianna Lallone: First weekend, Saturday evening, and second weekend Saturday evening matinee
  • Otto Neubert: Second weekend Thursday and Friday

For "Afternoon of a Faun," "In the Night," "Other Dances," "Dances at a Gathering," and "West Side Story Suite:"

  • Program A:
    • Cast 1:  First weekend Friday evening and Saturday matinee
    • Cast 2:  Second weekend Saturday evening
  • Program B:
    • Cast 1: First weekend Saturday evening and second weekend Friday
    • Cast 2: Second weekend Thursday evening and Saturday matinee

Both casts for "In the Night," and "Other Dances" (company premiere) are new.  For "Dances at a Gathering," only Lucien Postlewaite and James Moore (Brown) and Seth Orza (Purple) danced their roles in the 2009 production; Sarah Orza danced Girl in Blue then and will dance Girl in Pink in this run.  So many of the dancers from 2009 are retired:  Lallone, Imler, Bold, Nadeau, Cruz, Weese. Eames, Thomas, Vinson, Gaines...  

William Lin-Yee makes his debut as Bernardo in "West Side Story Suite," James Moore makes his in "Afternoon of a Faun," and there will be 11 debuts in two casts in "The Concert," which was done most recently.

Edited by Helene
To fix Porretta's and Lallone's second weekend performance times
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Here is the text from the program email that Peter Boal sent:

Dear Friends,

After years of planning, we are now days away from opening night of PNB’s Jerome Robbins Festival, with seven ballets and several festival extras for you to understand and appreciate one of the most defining voices of American art and culture in the 20th century. This comes to you a few days earlier than usual, hoping you will either attend or direct others (or both) to the offstage insights we offer this week. Please also visit our Robbins Centennial Page for even more information.

Here are a few facts about Mr. Robbins you may not know:

-         Circus Polka was originally choreographed by Balanchine for Ringling Brothers Circus. Balanchine choreographed the work on elephants. Stravinsky was worried about the animals and Balanchine told him not to worry, responding, “They are young elephants.”

-         PNB will present four ringmasters, a role originally performed by Robbins himself. Our casts include me, Ariana Lallone, Otto Neubert and Jonathan Porretta. Ariana and I wear the same boots.

-         Anthony Dowell was one of the most beloved and celebrated dancers in London’s Royal Ballet. He is also the costume designer for In the Night.

-         Other Dances is one of four Chopin ballets in the Festival. The extended duet was originally created for Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Both dancers were members of the Kirov (now Maryinsky) Ballet before defecting to the U.S.

-         Robbins apparently spied a young Edward Villella napping in the sunlight in an unused studio. This vision was the inspiration for the opening of Afternoon of a Faun.

-         Both Afternoon of a Faun and The Concert were made for Tanaquil Le Clerq, a great love and truest of friend to the choreographer. Tanny was also Balanchine’s fourth wife.

-         Like many ballets choreographed by Robbins, the process could be glacial. He took two years to create Dances at a Gathering. He also took two years to choreograph his final ballet, Brandenburg. I know because I was there for all of it.

Thank you for joining us over the next two weeks and for the rest of the season. See you at the ballet!



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Opening Night (followed by the dinner and party) was Friday, and opening weekend, there were two performances of Program A and one of Program B of the Robbins Festival.  While having so many ballets with so many parts is a great opportunity, as an audience member, it's frustrating to see the by-definition casting limitations, with three performances of A and four of B, and only "Circus Polka" common to both programs.  I would have loved to see at least one more cast in each program, but, alas, Lotto hasn't struck yet...

"Afternoon of a Faun" is back:  I can't stop thinking about the approach that Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand took with this ballet.  I am very used to seeing interpretations where the audience is the mirror, but even more, where the dancers are so absorbed with the mirror, that the woman isn't sure she's been kissed unless she sees herself being kissed.  And many of these have been great interpretations. Robbins was an acute observer, and from many accounts of him in the studio, used to tease, coax, cajole, and harass his dancers to look out in the world instead of the studio and the mirror.  That he created the female role for his great friend, Tanaquil Leclercq, who was notoriously clever, funny, and non navel-gazing, is delicious; as a theater director I know once said, "You don't cast a bumbling fool as a bumbling fool: you cast an acrobat!" 

I'm even used to interpretations where the mirror is an audience of two reflections.  What I was not expecting was a "Faun" in which the mirror was also the audience, and where the dancers occasionally lost themselves in a connection -- not a love connection, but a working connection -- and had to remember to face us, because we'd be there, eventually, not just to check their lines and positions (or that they existed).  Their dynamics kept shifting, and it was almost like watching on a turntable, which is so odd, because that fourth wall is such a physical focus. 

"Circus Polka" has a bazillion kids, and the tiny girls in pink steal the show.  We had three Ringmasters this weekend: Peter Boal donned the top hat on Opening Night -- he joked in a Q&A yesterday that he had to count to 22, instead of 8 -- Jonathan Porretta, who is still recovering from injury, performed yesterday afternoon (and will again next Saturday night), and Ariana Lallone , who returned to PNB as a guest for last night's performance, and will perform again for next Saturday's matinee.  The fourth Ringmaster (Thursday and Friday) will be Otto Neubert, who is the real life ringmaster for the kids when they perform with the Company.

In Program A, "In the Night" had two very distinct all-new casts.  Leta Biasucci made her first appearance as Principal Dancer in the opening movement, usually described as "young lovers."  Her partner was Benjamin Griffiths, and he is a warm and sunny presence, which set the tone for them as a couple and fulfilled the theme.  Last night in the same pas de deux, Dylan Wald was a young, aristocratic presence, and he and Elizabeth Murphy, without imposing a narrative, had a whiff of a 19th century Romantic perfume and lent it a touch more of roil.   Laura Tisserand and William Lin-Yee are well-matched in the second movement, although it was choreographed for Verdy and Martins, who had a bigger height differential.  Tisserand has a worldly charm, essential for the role, and Lin-Yee caught the character movements, using sharp accents with his head and gaze.  Lindsi Dec and Steven Loch danced it in the evening.  They both danced beautifully, and each is wonderfully suited for his or her role, but they aren't a great physical match, being that close in height.  I would have preferred to see Dec with Lin-Yee -- each has a robustness to their movement  -- Tisserand with Miles Pertl, with whom she's looked terrific in the times I've seen them together, and Loch with one of the shorter women, to more closely mirror the Verdy/Martins match.  But, alas, only two, not three casts, and all is immune to my backseat casting.

The third couple has to bring the drama -- the women is carried in, kicking like mad, like one of the Balanchine lovers in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is carried out during the cat fight in the storm scene -- and both casts brought it.  Noelani Pantastico alternated between softness and fierceness, and while Tisserand was by no means detached, he had a gravitas that suggested that he was going to get this under control.  And don't think I've ever seen the woman in the swoop-up-and-over-lifts float like Pantastico did.  It was astonishing.  It was a lot more touch and go for Rachel Foster's and Ezra Thomson's couple: it wasn't clear until the last moment that they'd survive the tempest, and I don't mean as a couple, but as people.  I was glad to see Thomson, who usually dances a lot of character-based roles and is on the shorter side, get to play a romantic lead. 

Thomson sounded very strong in "Cool" in "West Side Story Suite."  No one would confuse him with a professional singer, but he could be confused with someone cast in a musical "out there" for his acting and dancing gifts.   Postlewaite reprised his "Tony" with all of his charisma and wattage, and we were extremely lucky that Ben Bliss is in town for "Turn of the Screw" with Seattle Opera next month: his (vocal) rendition of "Something's Coming" from the pit was fabulous.  (Bliss sang Ferrando in Seattle Opera's and the Met's production of "Cosi" last season; the latter was shown in the Met in HD series.)  Dec struggled vocally as Anita in both performances, and she didn't build the dancing in "America" like I'd seen her do in the past.  Lin-Yee dances all three performances of Bernardo, a debut, and I wouldn't want to encounter him (or Joshua Grant) in a dark alley: those fight scenes, in which he is central, were nuts.  Angelica Generosa was sweet as Maria, but it's a comparatively minor role in the suite, with little range. 

Margaret Mullin was a sweet Rosalia on Friday night; she was originally scheduled for the part in yesterday's matinee, but was replaced by Amanda Morgan, who is scheduled for next Saturday night.  I'm hoping that she didn't perform because of the cold she mentioned on Instagram, and that she'll make her debut as Green in "Dances at a Gathering" on Thursday.  Morgan was terrific, too, as was Leah Merchant as Riff's dancing partner in "Dance in the Gym," and Kyle Davis as the tweaker in "Cool." The tension and body language of two of the Jets really popped for me in the group scenes: Steven Loch's and Henry Cotton's.

PNB does a fantastic job with "The Concert": there isn't a weak link in any part.  I'm just never going to like it.  I was raised by great fans of the Marx Brothers, but they didn't pass on the slapstick gene, and I can't get past the Groucho-like misogyny, even if nothing more could have been asked from Ryan Cardea, who was wonderful as the Husband.

Which leaves two piano ballets.  From the accounts of the creation of "Dances at a Gathering," for the main roles, aside from the original pas de deux for Patricia McBride and Edward Villella, Robbins hadn't decided who would be dancing which piece, and he famously would ask the main women why they couldn't be more like one of the others.  "Other Dancers" is the opposite end of the spectrum: there was nothing interchangeable about his intention for Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  It's rare for me to be convinced of an alternative approach in this ballet, but not impossible:  Kyra Nichols did in the Makarova role, and they couldn't be more physically and stylistically different.  Noelani Pantastico and Seth Orza didn't convince me in "Other Dances."  But they were totally convincing in "Dances at a Gathering" as Purple and Apricot.  Apricot, originally Allegra Kent's role, has got to be the hardest part with the most range, from quicksilver to playful to languid, and Pantastico was magic in every single aspect of the role.  

The Orzas are remarkably simpatico when they dance together, and "Dances" was no exception: the pas de deux between Purple and Pink (Sarah Ricard Orza) was one of the emotional highlights of the performance; she exudes warmth and a depth that is left unexplained.  Elizabeth Murphy danced Mauve with a soft, but bright palette; the role really suits her, and she looked great with all of her partners.  Laura Tisserand portrayed Green with humor and sophistication.  The men were all superb: Lucien Postlewaite in Brown, a "first among equals" kind of role, but Orza and Jerome Tisserand, as Green, were equally strong, and if I had a daughter who was going to be flung across the stage and tossed upside down, I'd want Joshua Grant's Man in Blue to be the one doing the catching.  Elle Macy as Blue and Davis as Brick were terrific, but there is just not enough of either of them in the ballet. 

Peter Boal said in one of the Q&A's yesterday that when he programmed the Festival, it was with the assumption that pianist/conductor Alan Dameron would be playing.  But Dameron is "heading to retirement," and while Boal said he would conduct "Nutcracker" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" later in the season, he did not perform in this piano-heavy rep.  Boal also said that Cameron Grant is heading to semi-retirement and is playing less with NYCB and had some time available, and he is appearing in "In the Night" -- his playing was exquisite -- and "The Concert."  (May he have more time for PNB in the future :beg:.) Mark Salman, who guested for "Ballet Imperial" about a decade ago, was the excellent soloist in "Other Dances," where, like in "The Concert," the piano is on stage.  And Christine Siemens, who also sang from the pit for "West Side Story Suite," played gloriously for "Dances at a Gathering."   A true merger of music and dancing all around.

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I attended Friday night Sept 21 and Saturday night Sept 22.  A not-so-quick-summary after editing: 

Friday - the highlight was Pantastico / Orza in "Other Dancers".  It's new to PNB and they make it unravel like a long, smooth ribbon that just weaves about the stage.   I think Orza must be in better shape this season because all of his lifts were rock solid secure, and Pantastico's confidence made them look buttery soft.  Just gorgeous. 

For "Afternoon of a Faun" - James Moore was the right danseur, but I would have cast Lindsi Dec in the Tanny role.  Rachel Butler is tiny, and lacks the lengthy limbs that make the dialogue with the music. (more on this substitute later)

"In the Night" had some brittle sections with Leta Biasucci and Benjamin Griffiths, hopefully this will smooth out over the following performances.  I agree with what Helene wrote above about the other two couples.  

"West Side Story" was on fire, especially the 3 Jets girls.  Anita was Lindsi Dec, and I thought she went over the top in the role.  Robbins is very specific in what tone he wanted, and this portrayal felt "off".   I think because she was trying to do steps meant for (tiny but shapely firecracker) Rita Moreno.  Anita is not supposed to be 6' tall.  I would have put Rachel Butler in this role instead, and given Lindsi the "Faun" role.  NYCB doesn't cast the "Rubies" Tall Girl in the Anita role, and neither should PNB.  Dec is much closer in proportional build to Wendy Whelan, which is why the Tall roles work on her, but I just don't think the choreography works on a dancer of her extended stature.  Rachel Butler has acting chops (we saw that in Giselle and Coppelia) and I think she'd be better in this.   The other roles were fine, I really like Ezra Thomson as Riff, and the orchestra clearly had fun playing Bernstein.

We saw first cast for "DAAG", so all principals and soloists.   I will only augment Helene's review, by adding that the audience was highly engaged on Saturday evening, and laughed throughout  humorous moments of DAAG at moments that I've never seen them laugh before.  It was a wonderful evening and I really think they really have the Robbins style, which appears caught up in the moment and spontaneous.  

"The Concert" was also very well received, and in the post-event talk, Peter Boal noted that Robbins choreographed based on his keen sense of the reality of his day.  "Fancy Free" portrayed his observance of 1940's war time street life, and "The Concert" portrayed his observance of late 1950's concerts in the park.   He worried that future audiences would be offended by the nature of the humor - the unfaithful husband's physical head-bop of his unhappy wife.  But perhaps he was also alluding to the purse keep-away game in "Fancy Free".  Whether present-day audiences accept the humor or not, those things were humorous in the zeitgeist of the time of portrayal. 

I have always enjoyed Alan Dameron's musical contributions to PNB, but I feel confident that the new artists on piano (and potentially in the future at the podium) are thoughtful contributors as well. 

Edited by Jayne
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Thank you, Jayne!  The audience definitely agreed with you about "Other Dances."

I can't believe I forgot to mention James Moore in "Afternoon of a Faun."  He wasn't able to dance it the first time around, but, of all the men I've seen, I can see Villella most in him.  I loved his performance, and he and Rachel Foster have great dynamics together.  I look forward to seeing them again second weekend.

Anita is a singing role, so casting options are limited.  Dec wasn't quite as emphatic when she danced it last time, with Karel Cruz as Bernardo.  I was surprised.  

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First half of a pre-recorded Studio C rehearsal of "Dances at a Gathering," mostly uninterrupted was PNB's contribution to World Ballet Day, and, according to the comments, PNB said it would be available for 30 days.  (Link below).  Which reminded me to post highlights of second Saturday, which featured second performances of new casts in "Dances at a Gathering," "The Concert," "Other Dances," and a mostly new cast for "West Side Story Suite."

It was great to see James Moore reprise "Afternoon of a Faun" with Rachel Foster in the evening, because so much of his opening solo in "Dances at a Gathering" reminded me of the contrasts he showed in the pas de deux.  He and Lucien Postlewaite, who danced Brown first weekend, were invoking very different memories in that solo, and he and Foster both bring playful contrasts so reminiscent of Villella and McBride to the roles of Brown and Pink.  William Lin-Yee danced Purple, and he gets the character inflections.  He also partners Pink in two major pas de deux, and Rachel Foster, despite being lifted about 10 feet in the air, looked very confident dancing with him, which supported her wide dramatic range in the role.

When Leah Merchant's Purple made her unassuming upstage entrance at the end of the quintet, it was like a visitor from "Liebeslieder Walzer" had shown up: the skies turned color just by the presence of her warmth and depth.  

[Commercial Break #1]

:beg: "Liebeslieder Walzer.  There are 2+ casts in the Company who could knock that ballet out of the park.  Plus, Christina Siemens on piano, with Cameron Grant playing with her.  And if Ben Bliss were in town, that would be amazing.  (Although I have no idea if the tessitura in the tenor part lies in his comfort zone.):beg:

[/Commercial Break]


Lesley Rausch and Jerome Tisserand brought clarity, elegance, and sparkle to "Other Dances.  We've seen Rausch's open port de bras since she first joined the Company, and while taller and American-trained, she is never going to look like Makarova, like Nichols, McBride, and Kistler, who'd I seen in the '80's and '90's, before her, she danced with a fluidity, especially in her upper body, and with a hint of delicacy and air in her phrasing.  Tisserand has elegant French schooling, but in an interview, I believe around the time the Company produced a short video of part of an Ochoa piece, he was described as having a goofy side, and that humor was perfectly inflected in this piece.  It's so easy to take for granted that Tisserand is going to morph into whatever role he is cast, but his versatility across the rep and with so many partners is astonishing. They gave a splendid performance.

As much as I dislike "The Concert," the umbrella scene has been a knockout every time I've seen it. Social proof in movement.

Seth Orza was a formidable Riff, and his face-off with Lin-Yee's Bernardo was fraught. I wish there was a pit singer for Anita, because for Noelani Pantastico to be as vocally expert and stylistically true as her dancing would take one of the great voices on Broadway.  And whether front-and-center, moving upstage in the middle of the many bodies and focus points in the gym dance-off, or reacting to the Jets as they danced into the Sharks space on the gym floor, she was in the moment dramatically.  

The scene during which I typically would be (mentally) checking my email is where Maria and Tony spy each other and meet at the dance.  Or, as Dick Button once called one of my favorite skaters during a broadcast, a "fridge break."  But Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan and Price Suddarth, who was very strong in "Something's Coming," had me entranced in that scene last Saturday. 


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